Mar 05

Living Room Workouts

dumbbellsSometimes you don’t feel like going to the gym, or maybe you don’t even have a gym membership at all. Yet it’s always there, in the back of your mind, the feeling that you need to do something to get your heart rate up on any given day. It might be the guilt from a weekend of overindulgence or the memory of a resolution long forgotten, but there you sit watching television with a bag of Cheetos on your lap. What you might not realize is that there is space directly in front of your couch where you can workout, and I’m not talking about any gimmicks (think infomercial) either. There are exercises you can do which will, in 20 minutes or less, have you wishing you were at the gym doing a light set of curls in front of the mirror.

Here’s what you need to know. It’s not always about the equipment or which gym you belong to, it’s about the desire to work up a good sweat and simply finish what you start. If you only have 1 hour to get ready in the morning I guarantee you can set aside 15 minutes to pound out a ridiculous workout on your living room (or even bedroom) floor. There have been many times this winter when I have just created an ad-hoc workout routine and executed it right at home. What follows are 5 intense exercises you can do singularly, or combine to create a sweat filled workout session a few feet from your Lazy Boy recliner.

Old School Pushups.

That’s right, pushups! These exercises work your chest, shoulders, triceps and to some extent your core muscles. It is very important that you complete the exercise correctly and know that there are multiple variations to the standard pushup. You can put your feet up on a chair and do elevation pushups, change your hand placement and do close hand or wide arm pushups. You can do pushups from your knees when you are tired, make no mistake these are just as tough. I like doing pyramid routines, where you start with 20 reps and then do 19, 18, 17 etc. Check out this video on how to do a correct pushup.

Air Squats.

Form is super important! If you do enough of these your thighs will feel like they are on fire while your heart rate gets elevated. Feet need to be shoulder width apart, head up and weight on your heels while you squat down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. If you are feeling strong try doing sets of these with your Bugout Bag on your back. Check out this video on how to do a correct squat.


So you think you have strong abdominal muscles? Starting in a strict pushup position drop down to your elbows while keeping your back straight and head up, focus on keeping your stomach tight and not dropping to your knees…for 2 minutes. For variations of this exercise try lifting either arm or either leg, or the left arm and right leg etc. Mix it up and once you reach burn out, take 30 seconds off before planking back up. Check out this video on how to do planks.


Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of high impact workouts. Two important things to remember when doing burpess: make sure your chest touches the ground and feet leave the ground. If you aren’t familiar with the burpee you should watch this vid on how to do a proper one. Pay attention at the 41 second mark. Burpees are intense and if you do enough of them they can be an absolute smoker in themselves. Fancy a good routine, complete 100 burpees in the fastest time possible.

Dive Bomber Pushups.

In a separate category than old school pushups because these involve a full body motion and synchronization. These are smokers, if you can do 50 of these at a time consider yourself a stud. Watch this vid on how to knock out perfect dive bombers.

Once you have these exercises down you can add some more of your own, and then start making up your own “next to the couch” routines. Try 10 of each and then work your way up to 20, 30 and 50…maybe 100! I must stress that you take the time to learn how to properly execute these exercises so you don’t injure yourself. Additionally know your own limits, if you truly have been a couch potato for 10 years, have had 2 knee surgeries or a bad back I wouldn’t recommend attempting to knock out 50 burpees. Only you know what you are capable of, if you are in doubt check with a professional trainer or your Doctor. Good luck!


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    • Ditch Doctor on March 5, 2013 at 9:20 AM
    • Reply

    Another very good article, but I had to laugh…..bag of Cheetos?? LOL
    My home gym has a TV and I often watch and workout. I also work my abs when I do planks which work your core muscles. Crunches, sit-ups, twists, and side bend are easy to do in front of the TV.
    And while you are working those rock hard muscles, don’t forget to do your stretching.
    I also use a SOBU which is a balancing ball and use that in front of the tube.
    Take care…..

    • PJ on March 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM
    • Reply

    Great point about stretching, I often do not stretch enough. And all of my muscles are rock hard, some are just obscured by a layer of fat. 🙂

    • mike on March 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM
    • Reply

    So right. In fact, basic body weight exercises like these are now the fastest growing type of exercises in health clubs.Imagine that: all that equipment and people are moving towards push ups. Great article. Best Time of Day to Exercise

      • PJ on March 6, 2013 at 7:09 AM
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      Funny how fads tend to come and go. I still have to get myself an ab-lounge one day just to see what all the hype is about. Body weight exercises are indeed great, and while having a few pieces of equipment can add variety to a workout not being able to get to the gym should never be an excuse.

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